Island legislators launch regional networks to promote renewables
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 18th 2009
Experts talking to legislators at the PV-powered village of Djabula in Mozambique
Island legislators attending the e-Parliament hearing in Vanuatu earlier this month agreed to set up regional networks to promote the use of renewables.
The 18 legislators – from Bahamas, Barbados, Comoros, Cook Islands, Dominica, Jamaica, Kiribati, Mauritius, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, St Lucia, Seychelles, Solomon Islands, and Tanzania (Mafia Island) – agreed to launch the networks after two days of briefings and discussion at the Melanesian Hotel in Port Vila.
The hearing was opened by e-Parliament Secretary General Nicholas Dunlop who explained that UK Met Office were currently forecasting a 6 degree rise in temperature this century – if our burning of fossil fuels and emission of carbon gases were allowed to continue unabated.
Scientists have shown that such a rise in temperature would have dramatic effects both on land and at sea – but for island states the rise in sea-level was of paramount concern. The last time global temperatures were three degrees higher, sea-levels were 25 metres higher than they are now.
Dunlop explained that such an increase would not happen immediately – but sea-levels are currently rising at a rate of about 3 millimetres a year and scientists are predicting a rise of between 1 and 2 metres by the end of the century.
The legislators in Vanuatu expressed particular concern about the plight of the low-lying Pacific nations such as Tuvalu and Kiribati – nations which will be threatened by just a small rise in sea-levels and which do not have areas of high ground to fall back on.
While considering what can be done in terms of electricity production, the legislators applauded the example being set by the island of Tuvalu which has announced an intention to convert to ‘100 percent renewables’.
Many of the legislators expressed a desire to push for this ‘Tuvalu Target’ in their home parliaments and said that they were impressed by how renewable energy could bring electricity to remote communities and play a strong role in development.
They agreed that the regional networks would help to promote renewables by sharing information among MPs; helping with bills and model legislation; and also by pushing developed countries to adopt more ambitious targets - targets that would actually have a chance of saving island states like Kiribati and Tuvalu.
The Indian Ocean network is being chaired by Abdulkarim Shah who represents Mafia Island off the coast of Tanzania. The Caribbean network will be chaired by Senator Patricia Inniss from the island of Barbados. The Pacific group will initially work through the Pacific Parliamentary Association for Population and Development with the South Pacific Islands Applied Geoscience Commission (SOPAC) initially providing a coordinating role.
The three groups requested that the e-Parliament/ Climate Parliament provide global coordination.
This hearing was one of a series of nine funded by the European Commission and the Swiss Development Agency (SIDA) for African, Caribbean and Pacific Island legislators on the subject of ‘Energy Access for the Poor’. Previous hearings in the series have taken place in Kenya, Ghana, Tobago, Guyana and Mozambique.
Next year e-Parliament energy hearings will take place in Cameroon, Papua New Guinea and Tanzania.
The e-Parliament is an international forum for the world’s democratic legislators which exists to spread and implement good ideas for legislation around the world. For more information please visit www.e-parl.net
The World Future Council promotes the interests of future generations to the politicians of today. For more information please visit www.worldfuturecouncil.org.
The e-Parliament would like to thank the European Union, the Swedish Development Agency (SIDA) and Oxfam Novib for funding this project.This publication has been produced with the assistance of the European Union, SIDA or Oxfam Novib. The contents of this publication are the sole responsibility of the e-Parliament and can in no way be taken to reflect the views of the European Union.